Greece:  An Odyssey to an Ancient Jewish Home

Dates: October 28 – November 7, 2024

Prices: $7075 per person land only, double occupancy; $1940 – Single Supplement

Prices are listed in US dollars.
Join us on this emotional and exhilarating journey to the birthplace of democracy, western philosophy, and the oldest Jewish community outside of Israel, established in the 3rd century BCE. This adventure will take us through Jewish history to discover the ancient Romaniote Jewish community and learn about the migrations of Jews from Sephardic countries, Ashkenazic lands, and the Ottoman Empire, many of whom sought refuge in Greece until the time of WWII. We will also visit ancient synagogues and cemeteries, meet new and fascinating community leaders and locals, uncover a thriving Jewish Athens, and learn how the Community in Salonica works hard to memorialize it’s past and retain its Spanish roots and Ladino language.

This Aegean odyssey will take place amidst iconic landscapes, including the Acropolis, Temple of Zeus, Delphi, Vergina, and Meteora, to name a few, creating a striking and captivating backdrop with which to explore the panoramic views of our rich cultural heritage.


  • Exploration of Athens, including the Acropolis, the Temple of Zeus, Hadrian’s library, the Jewish Museum, local community leadership, and much more

  •  Discover the beautiful port city of Volos; meet a community member while visiting the local synagogue & Jewish cemetery

  •  Stop at Meteora to see the stunning monasteries perched high above the massive ancient rock formations 

  •  Travel to the lakeside castle town of Ioannina, home to the Romaniote Jews, and meet with Allegra Matsa, living legend and life force behind this unique Jewish community

  •  Tour Salonica, long-time home of the Sephardic Jews, and visit the Jewish Museum with a dynamic community activist

  •  Journey to the Macedonian sites of Vergina, one of the most magnificent archaeological discoveries of the 20th century, and Pella, city of Alexander the Great

For the itinerary and other details, please see the tabs below. On a mobile device, use the menu icon (☰) to open other tabs.
Please read Melton's comprehensive health policy HERE.
  • Greece:  An Odyssey to an Ancient Jewish Home 
    October 28 – November 7, 2024
    (Itinerary subject to change)



    • Accommodations: 10 nights
    • Meals: Breakfast every day, 4-group dinners
    • Educational Programming: All entrance fees and programs as per the Melton itinerary
    • All tips (except for housekeeping)

    Day 1 – October 28, 2024: Athens – WHY JEWISH GREECE?

    • Arrival and hotel check-In by 1:00 PM.
    • Introductory session followed by a visit to the Acropolis Museum and the Acropolis. This UNESCO World Heritage Site and its monuments are universal symbols of the classical spirit and civilization that form the greatest architectural and artistic complex bequeathed by Greek Antiquity to the world.
    • Finish your first day in Athens with a Welcome Dinner.

    Overnight: Electra Palace, Athens, 18-20 N.Nikodimou Street , Tel: +30 2103 370000

    Day 2 – October 29, 2024: ATHENS AND JERUSALEM AS SYMBOLS

    • Breakfast at the hotel accompanied by a study session.
    • Visit to the Ancient Agora of Athens. Walking through the Agora will take you back to the economic center where the wealth, reach and influence of classical Athens was visible by the wide range of goods shipped in from the nearby port of Piraeus, which ranged from wheat produced on the shores of the Black Sea to precious dyes from the Levant. An outdoor study session under the trees and among the ruins will allow for questions regarding two ancient cultures, Jewish and Greek, and the worldviews they espoused.
    • Lunch on your own.
    • Hadrian’s Library - Emperor Hadrian wanted to create a place of academic study worthy of the reputation of ancient Athens in Letters and Science, so he built Hadrian’s Library. It contained three floors of books, reading rooms, teaching rooms, gardens, and a pond. From here we will proceed to his Temple of Zeus and consider the ascendance of the Hellenistic culture that so fascinated Hadrian, a figure so despised in Jewish sources.
    • Time to explore the markets and other public spaces in Athens,
    • Dinner on your own.

    Overnight: Electra Palace, Athens

    Day 3 – Wednesday, October 30, 2024: Volos & Makrinitsa – WHAT IS A ROMANIOTE JEW?

    • Breakfast at the hotel,
    • Travel to Volos, a charming city at the foot of Mt Pelion. On the way, we will learn about some of the greatest clashes in ancient Greek history.
    • Lunch in Volos,
    • Visit the Jewish Community of Volos and its synagogue, meet with a member of the community, and, if time permits, we will also visit the Volos Jewish cemetery with its carved matsevot (gravestones) reflecting the former greatness of the community.
    • Visit Makrinitsa on Mt. Pelion. Known as “the noble village” because it was mostly inhabited by wealthy people, its houses have tall, decorated walls and windows and are truly works of art. All the climbing streets of Makrinitsa are stone and lead to a beautiful large square, shadowed by tall plane trees. The story of the role of these mountain villages during the dark days of World War Two will be discussed, even as the unparalleled views enchant us.
    • Dinner and evening at leisure.

    Overnight: Xenia, Volos, 1 Plastira Str 38222, Tel: +30 2421 092700

    Day 4 – Thursday, October 31, 2024: Meteora & Ioannina – MATTERS OF IDENTITY

    • Breakfast at the hotel.
    • Study session on Greek Christianity, so different from the West European models you may be familiar with, this in the broader context of national and religious identity.
    • We will then head to Meteora, one of the biggest and most important groups of monasteries in Greece. There, we will visit either Stephens Monastery or the Great Meteora Monastery.
    • Lunch on own in Kalambaka.
    • Travel to Ioannina, longtime home to a Romaniote Jewish community. The natural environment, the climate and character of the town are defined by this stretch of water – the area’s trademark. In this castle town, we will visit the Jewish Quarter and the Synagogue of Ioannina, barely active today, and meet with Allegra Matsa, the life force behind the dwindling Jewish community in Ioannina.

    Overnight: Hotel du Lac. Ioannina, Κ. Papoulia & Ikkou, Tel: +30 26510 591001 OR Epirus Palace, Ioannina

    Day 5 – Friday, November 1, 2024: Thessaloniki – PORTRAIT OF A COSMOPOLITAN CITY

    • Breakfast at the hotel.
    • Depart for a 4-hour ride to Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city. This city’s Jewish community was already famous two millennia ago, when visited by Paul. It flourished after Sephardi Jews found refuge in the Ottoman Empire after the Expulsion, and by the 20th century, Jewish life in Salonika even determined the pace of the whole city; Sadly, 96% percent of the community was to perish during the years of the Holocaust.
    • Lunch on own.
    • Tour the old defensive walls, including the Citadel and the White Tower, to gain an overall impression of this magnificent city.
    • Kabbalat Shabbat services members of the local community.
    • Communal Shabbat dinner regaled with wine and stories about the community and its rich history.

    Overnight: Electra Palace, Thessaloniki, 9 Aristotelous Square, Tel: +30 231 029 4000

    Day 6 – Saturday, November 2, 2024: SHABBAT: JERUSALEM OF THE BALKANS

    • Breakfast at the hotel.
    • Free morning to explore the city on your own and visit the Archeological Museum if you wish.
    • Afternoon walking tour of the heart of the Jewish community before the Great Fire of 1917, including the Karasso Arcade, the Modiano Market, Yahoudi Hammam, and Freedom Square, established in remembrance of the 50,000 Salonika Jews exterminated by the Nazis.
    • In the late afternoon, we will meet at the hotel for a study session, Seudah Sh’lishit and group discussion, before marking the end of Shabbat with
    • Free evening to enjoy the city’s nightlife.

    Overnight: Electra Palace, Thessaloniki

    Day 7 – Sunday, November 3, 2024:  Thessaloniki – Macedonia THE CRADLE OF HELLENISM, FROM FATHER TO SON

    • Breakfast at the hotel.
    • Depart for Vergina and Pella, two great Macedonian sites. Vergina, a UNESCO World Heritage Monument and one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the 20th century, is first on the list. This site holds the tomb of Philip II.
    • Lunch on your own.
    • Visit Pella, home city of Alexander the Great. Here, we have the ideal backdrop for our discussion on the clash between Judaism and Hellenism and its contemporary dimensions.
    • Explore Veroia/Veria, a town where the Jewish community was important enough 1900 years ago for Paul to visit the synagogue and preach to the unconverted! Alas, there are no Jews here anymore (the last individuals left at the end of the 20th century) but there is a synagogue, and we will walk around the former Jewish Quarter.
    • Return to Thessaloniki.
    • Dinner and evening at leisure.

    Overnight: Electra Palace, Thessaloniki

    Day 8 – Monday, November 4, 2024: Larissa – IN THE SHADOW OF THE SHOAH (1)

    • Breakfast in the hotel followed by check-out.
    • Explore the city’s Old Jewish Cemetery, which once included 300,000 Jewish tombs. Very few gravestones survived the Nazi assault of 1942. Today, Aristotle University is located on those grounds.
    • Visit the Railway Freight Station, the point of departure of the trains that carried the many thousands of Salonica’s Jews to the camps where almost all of them were to die.
    • Visit the Jewish Museum, whose special exhibits will allow us to reconsider the history of the Jewish community, its synagogues and commercial activity and centrality, and its educational and other public institutions.
    • Lunch on your own.
    • Travel to Larissa. The views of the narrow pass between two mountains, Ossa and Olympus, are stunning. We will visit The Synagogue of Larissa and the Holocaust Memorial and meet members of the community to discuss how this small but solid community survives.
    • Travel to Arachova to end our day.
    • Dinner and evening at leisure.

    Overnight: Domotel Anemolia, Arachova, Delfon National Road, Tel: +30 22670 31640

    Day 9 – Tuesday November 5, 2024: Distomo, Delphi & Athens – IN THE SHADOW OF THE SHOAH (2)

    • Breakfast at the hotel.
    • Educational session introducing Nazi policies regarding collective punishment. We will then depart for the site of the Distomo Massacre, one of the most atrocious crimes the Nazis committed against innocent women and children, only months before the German occupying forces retreated from Greece.
    • Lunch on your own.
    • Visit Delphi for an encounter with the most important ritual site of ancient Greece, and an outstanding museum in a spectacular location. Oracle? Urim and Thummim? Who can we ask?
    • Return to Athens.
    • On reaching Athens, we will drive by the Panathenaic Stadium, site of the Olympic Games both when they were revived in 1896 and in 2004.
    • Dinner and evening at leisure.

    Overnight: Electra Palace, Athens

    Day 10 - Wednesday, November 11, 2024: Athens – WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR GREEK JEWRY?

    • Breakfast at the hotel.
    • Tour the Jewish Museum of Athens including a meeting with Zanet Battinou, director of the Jewish Museum of Athens.
    • Visit Beth Shalom Synagogue, the Holocaust Memorial and Jewish Cultural Center, and meet community leaders, including the young Greek-born Chief Rabbi of Athens, Rabbi Negrin, and Taly Mair, Director of the Community.
    • Free time.
    • Concluding session.
    • Festive farewell dinner.

    Overnight: Electra Palace, Athens

    Day 11 - Thursday, November 7, 2024:  Departure - RETURNING TO THE DIASPORAS – AND ISRAEL!

    • Breakfast at the hotel and check out.

    Gil Travel will gladly assist with private transfers to the airport.

  • The Melton tour to Greece will be led by Avi Ben-Hur, tour educator with Melton Travel.

    Melton travel is open to adults of all ages.

    We are so pleased that you are interested in travelling with Melton! As you may know, Melton provides the educational content for its tours, but is not a travel agency. Gil Travel Agency (“Gil”) is the travel logistics provider for this tour and is responsible for the collection of all deposits and other fees. Because Melton does not collect any travel deposits or fees, it is not responsible for any financial loss associated with a cancellation of this seminar for reasons beyond Melton’s control, including COVID.

    We encourage you to read Gil’s Travel Protection recommendation thoroughly, advising that you purchase comprehensive travel insurance that covers both “cancellation for any reason” and for “COVID-related” reasons. Even where your destination does not presently restrict travel due to COVID, we still recommend you purchase a policy with such coverage.

    Thank you for your understanding. We look forward to travelling and learning with you,
    The Melton Travel Team

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  • Need to Know

    • Group rates are per person based on double occupancy and a minimum of 20 fully paying participants. Should the number of participants drop below the minimum listed above, we may adjust the cost of the trip to reflect the additional expense of operating the program.
    • Tour prices are per person in U.S. dollars. All hotel accommodations, motor coach transportation, special dinners, sightseeing, admissions, luggage handling and the services of local guides, drivers, and the tour guide/educator are included.
    • A non-refundable deposit of $1,250 per person is due upon registration. If the trip is cancelled, the registration fee will be refunded. Final balance will be due June 13 ,2024.
      1. Up to June 14, 2024: $1,250 per person deposit paid at registration is non-refundable
      2. From June 15-August 28, 2024: 75% of the trip cost is non-refundable
      3. August 29, 2024 and afterward – no refunds
      4. There will be no refunds for unused services.All cancellations must be submitted in writing.
    • Hotel Accommodations: The tour price includes all hotel accommodations, in hotel rooms with private bathrooms. Our standard is to provide the best available hotels while considering value. Although the level of the accommodations may differ slightly from hotel to hotel, we are committed to your comfort.
    • Meals are included as indicated in the itinerary. Participants can order kosher meals at prices set by our local agents.
    • A Melton educator will be with the group throughout the tour.
    • All gratuities are included.
    • Baggage: The Travel Agent and/or Tour Operator shall not be held responsible for any damage to or loss of luggage/personal items. All damage/loss must be reported at time of incident and documented in writing by local authorities for submission to the insurance company. With regard to airline baggage allowance, different carriers have different regulations for business and coach, please check with your individual carrier with regard to permitted number of pieces, weights and dimensions. The tour operator is not responsible for fees levied by any air carrier for the transport of personal belongings of any kind.
    • Porterage at hotels. Please note that room service is not included.

     Not Included:

    • International flights and personal insurance 
    • Personal expenses, including meals or drinks not mentioned in the itinerary, unless specified

    We will be pleased to assist you in any and all flight arrangements, including additional travel plans, through our partners at Gil Travel. Please contact Julian Banegas (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 215-568-6655, Ext. 377) with your flight requests.

  • Please note that Gil Travel will obey all protocols/restrictions in place regarding COVID.

    We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance. Melton is not responsible for cancellation of this program for reasons beyond its control. Your comprehensive travel insurance should cover both "cancellation for any reason" and "COVID-related cancellation". This latter policy is being offered by a number of insurance companies. We refer you to a list published by Forbes magazine, showing those companies that offer this new policy.

    Please note that such policies may require registration for the policy within 14-21 days of your registration for the seminar.

    Gil Travel recommends RoamRight Travel Insurance.

    For more information on the available plans or to enroll, visit  RoamRight Travel Insurance  or contact RoamRight at 1-866-891-6614 and reference Gil Travel.

    Please Note: To be eligible for the waiver of pre-existing medical condition exclusion, the protection plan must be purchased within 21 days from the time you make your initial trip deposit, the entire non-refundable amount of the trip must be insured, and you must be medically able to travel at the time the premium is paid. However, the travel protection plan itself can be purchased any time prior to departure.

    Additional Information

    • Airline Security Measures: Your name must match the name on your tour reservation and airline ticket, or you may be denied boarding. It must also be exactly as it appears on your passport. Please make sure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after the date of your return home.
    • If you are traveling from an airport outside the jurisdiction of the U.S., you will need to determine what travel documentation and identification is required for that particular airport.
    • Due to heightened security regulations, certain items such as a metal nail file, pocketknife, cigarette lighter or tweezers, and some liquid, gel, or aerosol items may not be permitted in your carry-on luggage. Please call your airline prior to departure to obtain current information on non-permissible carry-on items and recommended airport check-in times. You may also wish to visit the U.S. Transportation Security Administration website at to obtain more information on acceptable identity documentation and prohibited luggage items.
  • For more information, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    T: 1–646–921–0747, Ext. 4